Wine farm 44/800 is Hartenberg in Stellenbosch!
I have rated this wine farm experience 5 star.
Hartenberg has everything you need. Great wine, good food, great service and it is even child friendly.
Hartenberg was established in 1692 and since then, it has passed through many owners over the decades who have each had their part in developing the farm. Then, in 1987, Ken Mackenzie purchased Hartenberg and his daughters run the farm today.
The Hartenberg underground cellar is the largest privately owned cellar in South Africa.
ACTIVITIES and OTHER AMENITIES:
- Wine tasting – Choose 6 wines for onloy R30.
- Cellar Tour – free
- Picnics at R195 per person. Buy two and get a free bottle of wine. Kiddies picnics only R80.
WHEN TO GO: All year round but better in the summer.
Tel: +27 21 865 2541
CHILD/PET FRIENDLY? Yes! Bring the kids! I remember visiting the farm when I was a child. There is a large jungle gym and plenty of grass to run around on.
LOCATION: Situated along the Bottleray road in Stellenbosch about a 35 minute drive from Cape Town. Google Map
Click HERE to view the ranking of this farm against others I have already reviewed.
Here is my experience:
I was so lucky to visit on a day with no wind and beautiful sunny skies! The signage is big, so you will not miss the turn off.
The drive to the farm is beautiful with rolling vineyards.
There is plenty of parking and the walk to the tasting room had a lot of steps! There is however a wheelchair friendly path too which I thought is great for parents too with small children in prams.
This is the tasting room. The staff are very friendly and greet you with a smile. You should make a booking but I hear that there are many people that just drop in and Hartenberg does their best to accommodate them.
Just across from the tasting room are these lovely tables set out in the courtyard. You can even do your wine tasting here whilst they bring you lunch. I really liked that. I felt outdoors, yet I was also well protected from the shade of the vines and bushes blocking out the wind.
The menu is great and I believe it changes from time to time to keep visitors entertained with something new. It was very well priced with the most expensive meal being Lamb Chops for only R160. A burger is only R95 and a salad only R70.
I started off with an ice cold and aromatic Riesling. This grape is known to produce wines of high acidity and elegance (just look at the beautiful shape of the bottle), with notes of peaches and honeysuckle. It was a good full bodied, dry white wine. The 2013 has received a 4 stars Platter’s SA Wine Guide award so the 2014 will surely follow suit. It is R80 at the cellar door and you can also buy it online here: http://www.hartenbergestate.com/order#/
It paired beautifully with these olives and cracker bread. The cracker bread is out of this world. It is apparently an olive cracker bread. You just have to try it!
The baby birds were a nice touch too!
What a great way to start the day!
I was fortunate enough to meet up with Johann van der Merwe who is the Destinations Manager at Hartenberg. He took us on a guided cellar tour. You can simply request to see the cellar upon your visit. To avoid disappointment, I do recommend that you book prior.
This door is apparently one of the oldest doors in South Africa. It used to be at the Cape Town Castle. Opening the door is quite a work out and the keys weigh a tonne 🙂
Inside, the cellar was absolutely FREEZING! It is underground and the air conditioning works very well!
I could see why it is the biggest underground private cellar in South Africa. Just tonnes and tonnes of wine in multiple rooms.
As you walk down the passages, you can view art showing the different stages of wine production. I particularly liked this one. The wine maker giving the Noble Man two glasses to choose from. This was a sign of respect to show that there was no poison in the glass because the winemaker would drink the other glass 🙂
You can actually host an event in this cellar too!
The grounds really are well manicured and you can enjoy a picnic. Choose from three picnic options. The picnic baskets are R195 per person and R80 per kid. For every two people, they include a bottle of wine. There is a massive jungle gym for the kids to play on. Johann is also working on hosting some beautiful country weddings here. No need to bring blankets or pillows, it is all here.
I got to sample the menu and it was oh so delicious! My favourite was the Salmon Trout Roulade (R115) and the Lamb Chops (R160)! It really is cooked to perfection!
Just look at how beautifully this is presented.
Speaking of Lamb Chops…onto the reds! Hartenberg is well known to produce some exceptional Shiraz!
We met up with the Tasting Room Manager, “Sweet Caroline” (she really was) who took us through five beautiful reds (we already had the Riesling to start with). Hartenberg has a selection of 8 reds, 6 whites and 4 of the Alchemy range. You can view the selection HERE.
First up was the Cabernet Shiraz red blend 2013 for R75 a bottle. This is a great every day wine because it had a good soft balance of tannins which made it easy drinking. Fruity, yet spicy too. 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Shiraz, 8% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 4% Mourvedre, 3% Petit Verdot. It has spent 13 months in 1st, 2nd and 3rd fill French oak barrels. Go on, buy a case here: http://www.hartenbergestate.com/wines/2/reds/cabernet-shiraz
Next up, one of my favourite grape varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon. This was a 2014 for R160 a bottle. These grapes were handpicked at night to ensure none of the flavour was lost during the heat of the day. It has spent 17 months in 1st and 2nd fill French oak barrels. A good palate of cherries (very fruity) and an excellent nose of pencil shavings/cigar box. Lovely!
Onto the Tenacity limited edition Merlot. Less than 1000 bottles were produced. It had a good fruity flavour, incredibly smooth and had a good dry, smoky finish.
Hartenberg really does do Shiraz very well due to the soil type in the area. This 2014 Shiraz has spent 18 months in new French Oak Barrels resulting in a fruity, spicy wine that you would expect from a Shiraz. R160 a bottle.
I was lucky to try the Gravel Hill Shiraz 2008. It was an excellent wine to enjoy with food! 18 months in new, French oak barrels and there are only 550 bottles produced. Oh my word it was delicious! Deep ruby and almost black in colour with a nose of cloves and even smoky oak. On the palate is it has a deep, juicy black berry taste with rich, dry tannins that ended off with a spicy, savoury finish. R545 a bottle.
This is the well known The Stork Shiraz 2008 which was awarded a Gold Medal 2012 Syrah Du Monde and first place- best Shiraz in the world. This wine is a total gem! You can buy the 2012 for R545 a bottle.
If the weather is looking a little gloomy, just go inside! There is a massive fireplace.
There is plenty of space to sit and mix with various other wine lovers.
You know the farm is good when the visitor’s books is so positive.
On the way back I spotted a Shiraz block which was planted in my Matric year 😉
I absolutely loved my visit. I took home a Chardonnay to review so watch this space.
So which farm will be next? 🙂